Fedweek

Bills have been introduced in the House and Senate (HR-6933 and S-3526) to soften the impact of the Social Security “windfall elimination provision” that reduces those benefits for those also drawing benefits from a retirement program that does not include Social Security, such as CSRS.

The bills are the latest in a long line of proposals over many years targeting the reduction, which applies to many of those who are eligible for a Social Security benefit from work or self-employment in which they paid into that system, separate from their earnings not covered by Social Security.

The reduction affects those with less than 30 years of Social Security earnings below a threshold—this year, $23,850. The maximum reduction, for those without at least 20 years of such “substantial” Social Security earnings, works out to be about $450 a month; there is a phaseout for those with between 20 and 30 years of such earnings.

Under the bills, for those who would be under age 55 at enactment—almost all current federal employees under CSRS are at least that age—a less restrictive formula would be used that “calculates worker benefits using each worker’s total lifetime earnings, and then adjusts for the proportion of earnings that came from a job covered by Social Security,” according to a summary by the bill’s sponsors.

For those age 55 or older at enactment the current reduction would continue to apply but as a partial make-up, their monthly Social Security benefits would be increased by $100. Spousal or survivor benefits paid on their behalf would increase by $50 a month.

More on the Windfall Elimination Provision – WEP and Social Security at ask.FEDweek.com

Although the House version of the bill was offered by the bipartisan leaders of the key committee there, Ways and Means, they apparently do not plan to attempt to pass it through Congress this year. Their joint statement said the bill “is intended to facilitate further discussion and analysis.”